After listening to feedback from its users, Moving Light Assistant, the application for documenting the physical configuration and programming of moving lights rigs has received an update with many new features to help streamline the workflow of lighting designers, associates and programmers. Below is an overview of the key feature additions and improvements.
The documentation of presets has been one of the main focuses for streamlining the workflow.
A new feature has been added to reconcile between the preset data in the Preset Documentation view and the console data. When you reconcile, MLA will compare the preset data you already have in Preset Documentation and the preset data from the last import from the console. It can then add any new presets that are in the console data, indicate or remove any presets that have been removed from the console data, add any channels that have been added to a preset and indicate or remove any channels that have been deleted. It can also indicate any presets or channels that already exist, but are not actually used in any cues. During the reconciliation, if the name of a preset has changed on the console, it can automatically update the name in the Preset Documentation view. This feature can be useful if you are importing the console data regularly and documenting as you go during a tech period.
Adding Only Used Presets/Channels
When adding presets and channels, it is now possible to optionally add only presets and channels that are used in cues. This makes it easier (and faster) to add only the presets and channels that need to be documented.
A preset can now have a priority assigned to it. There are 6 priority levels with user define names such as “Urgent” or “Special Focus”. It is possible to sort and filter with priorities, so this can speed up the workflow when focussing a show by quickly finding the important focuses that need attention.
4 Photographs for Channels
A channel in a preset can now have up to 4 photographs attached to it. This can be useful when you would like to perhaps want to have a photograph of a fixture from several view points.
Sorting and Filtering
There have been some improvements made to the preset sorting and filtering. You can manually order the presets, and if desired save the current sort and filtering as a custom sort and filter for easy recall later.
Scripting and Console Communication
Scripting adds the ability to automate actions within MLA. Scripts are written in a programming language called LUA. A script can manipulate aspects of the user interface, access data within MLA and also send data to the ETC EOS family of consoles and the grandMA 2 console. Scripts can be triggered in several ways. A script can appear in the “Scripts” menu for the user to choose, a script could be triggered by a key on the keyboard or a script can be triggered by running a macro on the console when MLA is connected over a network to the console (EOS and grandMA2).
Example scripts are supplied of which some allow you to do the following…
- Send patch DMX addresses from the MLA Rig Data view to the console (EOS and grandMA2).
- Send 3D Locations of fixtures in the Rig Data to the grandMA2 console.
- Build a cue list on the console from a cue list in MLA. It is possible to import into MLA a cue list from an application such as Microsoft Excel and then send this cue list to the console (EOS and grandMA2).
- Automatically photograph a preset in the Preset Documentation view by telling the console what to do and controlling a camera connected to MLA (EOS and grandMA2).
- Export a CSV file of a cue list in MLA.
- Take a preset photograph for the selected preset.
- Take a channel photograph for the selected channel.
ETC EOS Family of Consoles
With the support for console communication for ETC EOS Family of consoles, the cue list in the Cue List view can follow the console using the network connection without the need for a MIDI interface. Useful for automatic cue photographing.
Timecode values are now imported and can be viewed in the Cue List view for the cues that are triggered by timecode.
For the grandMA2 console, a built in Telnet terminal has been added which is how MLA communicates with the grandMA2 console.
PRG Vx76 Console Support
It is now possible to import XML files exported from PRG’s Vx76 range of consoles (Vx76 software v4.1 onwards). The data can be analysed and used to build documentation in the same way other supported consoles are handled.
MLA Show Document Import
Data from an existing MLA show document can now be imported into the currently open show document. All the data of a specific type is imported, for example, all the Rig Data, or all the Preset Documentation data.
Rig Data View
Increment, Decrement and Offset values
In numeric columns within the Rig Data view, it is now possible to select a range of field rows and apply an incrementing/decrementing of offset value. For example you could select the Unit Number field for all the fixtures on LX 1 and in one command renumber them by entering “1+”
Rig Data Item Counting
It is possible to count the number of items in the Rig Data view. If desired this can also be broken down by another field. For example you could count fixture types, but broken down by the case colour.
There have been many other updates to features and bug fixes in this release. Visit the MLA website and download the release notes for details of all the changes. The fixture profile library used in the Rig Data view has also been updated to include some of the more commonly used fixture types.